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Conversion rate optimization may be something that you’ve mastered ages ago. The thing is, the CRO landscape is evolving constantly, and what you knew several years back may not be so relevant anymore.
While conversion rate optimization best practices are a widely discussed subject, a lot of resources on the topic are now outdated. It’s important that you keep yourself updated with newer, more innovative conversion rate optimization tactics. Ones that will help you drive more conversions each year.
Before we delve into the conversion rate optimization best practices, let’s understand what CRO is:
What Is Conversion Rate Optimization?
Whenever a visitor goes to your website, you want them to click on the “subscribe” or “buy” button. Simply put, you want your website visitors to take a desired action. The strategies that you employ to take the desired action are related to CRO.
Conversion rate optimization best practices are crucial for all business owners. After all, most webmasters engage customers so that they can get conversions. Conversion rate optimization requires a deep understanding of user behavior and the target audience.
The best practices for conversion rate optimization aim to influence user behavior. For this, you may need to change your fonts, CTA buttons, colors, and other elements of your landing pages.
In addition to this, clever copywriting and high-quality visuals can also make a big impact on choices that users make. Your content quality also makes a huge difference in how your visitors engage with your website. If you provide value to them, they are more likely to be interested in your content and products.
The best practices for conversion rate optimization aren’t advertorial. Instead, they rely on subtle persuasion.
Now that you have a better idea of what CRO is, let’s look at how companies are using it. Here are the best practices for conversion rate optimization:
#1: Prioritize a Personalized Website Experience
At a time when retailers and B2B companies alike are struggling to stand out, you can’t afford to have a website experience is just as generic as that of your competitors.
Sure, the experience may be pleasant enough. But there’s nothing that sets it apart from others. So you have just about the same chance as your competitors to convert your target customers.
According to an Accenture study:
- 65% of consumers are more likely to buy from retailers that know their purchase history
- 58% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when they get recommendations based on their preferences or past purchases
- 65% are more likely to buy from retailers who provide them with personalized promotions relevant to them.
More and more marketers are starting to realize the importance of providing a personalized experience to shoppers.
Evergage reports that 88% of marketers believe their prospects or customers expect a personalized experience. A striking 96% also agree that personalization helps them improve their customer relationships.
The same study also found that the biggest benefit of in-app or website personalization is conversion rate optimization. The second biggest benefit is an improved customer experience, followed by increased visitor engagement.
There are plenty of ways to personalize your visitors’ website experience. You can segment your visitors based on location, demographics, browsing behavior, etc. And then you can use these segments to deliver personalized landing pages, offers, pricing, recommendations, and more.
Example: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
Evergage conducted a case study on the effects of personalized experience on the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows website. They segmented their visitors in several ways to provide hyper-personalized website experiences.
First, they automatically segmented visitors based on their location and displayed home pages relevant to their referring geography.
They also created key segments such as families or novice skiers and provided them with content relevant to their needs.
For example, visitors who belong to the “families” segment will get to see content that showcases some of the best reasons why Squaw is such a great option for families.
Squaw Valley placed visitors into the relevant segments based on the group with which they identified as or according to the content that they engage with.
As you can see in the screenshot below, visitors can choose from four different groups. They’ve even taken care to personalize the CTA copy for each of the groups. It’s one of the best practices that can have a significant impact on your revenue.
This conversion rate optimization practice helped Squaw Valley cater to the unique requirements and preferences of their website visitors. They were able to increase the conversion rate in the “family” segment by 38%. The revenue-per-user also increased by 41% in this high-value segment.
#2: Help Shoppers Get Answers Quickly
People who shop online tend to do so because it’s convenient. They don’t want to waste their time traveling to the store when they can get what they need from the comfort of their homes.
So naturally, these shoppers would also expect to find what they need quickly and purchase it without any hassle. When they’re unable to do this, it could frustrate them and result in a loss of conversion opportunity. Keep this in mind while designing your conversion rate optimization strategy.
A Pew Research Center survey found that being able to ask questions is important for 83% of U.S. adults when buying something they haven’t bought before. But when they have questions that can’t be answered by your FAQ page, they don’t want to go through the trouble of calling you up.
According to Avaya, consumers prefer not to call a business and would rather communicate through messages. This is particularly common among millennials.
Additionally, Bentley University and NeuraFlash discovered that every respondent in their joint study would rather have chatbot conversations with businesses if it’s going to help them save time and solve their problems.
So it’s clear that one of the best practices for conversion rate optimization is to help shoppers get answers quickly. Don’t make them call you. Instead, provide answers instantly.
This conversion rate optimization strategy could work for both B2C and B2B companies in enhancing the visitor experience and driving conversions.
Live chat support can be an excellent addition to your site if you wish to make more sales. Visitors can get quick answers to their questions. This could make it easier for them to decide on a product to purchase.
Example: Logical Position
Logical Position, a PPC management company, was able to make use of live chat support to increase their conversions. According to a LiveChat case study, the company has experienced a 150% increase in inbound leads after introducing live chat to their site. Their inbound sales also increased by 30-40%.
Even if your agents are unavailable to chat 24/7, you could clearly display the hours during which they are available. You could also encourage visitors to leave a message so the agents can get back to them quickly as soon as they’re back online.
#3: Implement UGC More Effectively
Trust is an important factor for conversion rate optimization. You may optimize your webpages with statements and points to prove that people can trust you. But that’s not going to cut it.
People are more ready to trust other customers than they would trust your claims. So you need to prove your claims through social proof such as user-generated content (UGC).
In fact, Pew Research Center found that 82% of U.S. adults read ratings and reviews from other customers before buying something online for the first time.
But it’s likely that you already know that. Maybe you already have reviews and ratings up on your product pages. This may work well enough to drive a decent amount of conversions.
For 2018, however, you could further focus on how you display user-generated content for conversion rate optimization. In addition to the usual method of displaying reviews and ratings, you could opt for more visual user-generated content.
According to an Olapic study:
- One out of four respondents has purchased a product after they saw it featured in user-generated content.
- 56% of respondents are more likely to buy an item after they have seen it in a user-generated image that was either positive or relatable to them.
- 52% of respondents say that photos are the most appealing form of user-generated content.
These numbers suggest that the visual user-generated content can significantly improve your conversion rate optimization strategy. Try displaying photos submitted by users through social media on your product pages or your homepage.
While it’s not a widely used strategy yet, it’s one of the best practices that can help you get ahead of your competitors quickly.
Example: Byron Bond
Here’s how Byron Bond displays user-submitted photos on their homepage:
You could also display the same text reviews as before. But this time, highlight the best ones in a text overlay image or along with the customer’s photo. This ensures that the review is more prominently visible and could compel many shoppers to buy from you.
Here’s another example from Byron Bond, where they display customer photos along with their reviews:
In case you’re a B2B company and you want to display user-generated content, try adding photos of your actual clients or users next to their reviews or testimonials. This conversion rate optimization strategy can provide social proof that your services are well-liked.
Take a look at how GroupHigh displays their client testimonials, for example:
#4: Optimize Your Checkout Page
Your checkout page is one of the most crucial elements in your sales funnel. It’s the page that determines whether or not you close the sale.
Even if a shopper has made it all the way through, there’s a good chance they may still change their mind if something goes wrong at the checkout page.
In fact, the Baymard Institute has found that ecommerce retailers experience an average cart abandonment rate of almost 70%.
This shows that a lot of retailers may not be doing enough to ensure that their checkout pages are optimized for conversions. So, it’s vital that your conversion rate optimization strategy also involves optimizing your checkout page.
According to the Baymard Institute study, the biggest reason for cart abandonment was extra costs being too high.
This suggests that most retailers are still failing to properly display the extra costs for products before customers add items to their carts. Although this may be uncontrollable for many retailers, look for ways in which you can be more transparent about the extra costs.
Your conversion rate optimization efforts should focus on highlighting your USP. For example, if you have a flat shipping charge, make sure you display it. Or if you have a minimum requirement for free shipping, make sure you prominently display the terms.
You can display it as a banner and you can also display it next to the pricing details of the products being viewed. Many big brands have used this best practice for conversion rate optimization with phenomenal results.
For example, Amazon displays the free shipping terms just underneath the cost of a certain item.
If you offer international shipping, you may be unable to provide free shipping everywhere. And the shipping costs may differ from region to region.
But make sure your customers have the option to see how much they will need to spend on shipping charges before they decide to add the item to their bag.
Brands like Innisfree, for instance, provide shoppers with a shipping fee calculator. Shoppers can calculate the cost of shipping based on various factors such as location, shipping method, and package weight.
Another common reason for cart abandonment is a long or complicated checkout process that often involves mandatory account creation.
To optimize your checkout page for conversions, make sure you reduce the number of steps involved to complete a purchase.
Start by eliminating the need to create an account and introduce a guest checkout option. If this isn’t viable for the kind of business you run, you could also give shoppers the option to register using their social media accounts.
You could further optimize your checkout page by adding trust seals. This is crucial because 22% of consumers abandoned their carts because they didn’t trust the site with their card information.
It’s also important to provide shoppers with several payment options if you want to drive more sales. The convenience of customers is key for conversion rate optimization.
#5: Make Use of Machine Learning to Identify Website Issues
The machine learning landscape is gradually evolving, creating more opportunities for online retailers to implement it into their conversion rate optimization efforts.
Zebra predicts that by 2021, machine learning will be widely used by retailers to personalize customer experiences. It will also improve their ability to forecast trends and changes in consumer requirements as well as enhance their visibility.
Machine learning algorithms can also be used by retailers to identify the biggest website issues that result in loss of conversions. The best part is that these algorithms reduce the time taken to identify these issues.
SessionCam has recently developed a CRO tool known as Customer Struggle Score or CS Score, which leverages machine learning technology.
The tool runs in the background and analyzes thousands of website sessions at all times. Through this analysis, the tool identifies visitor behaviors that indicate some of the common usability problems on a website. This cuts down the time and effort taken for conversion rate optimization.
UK-based brewery, Adnams PLC was able to use the technology to quickly identify pages that were not delivering good customer experience. Using this best practice for conversion rate optimization, they could prioritize their efforts and resources on pages that needed it the most. And this helped them correct their website issues more effectively.
These are five of the best practices for conversion rate optimization that you should prepare for in 2019. As always, it’s all about prioritizing your customers’ experiences and anticipating their needs and expectations.
You need to focus on what your customers are looking for and what drives them to make a purchase. This will help you in making changes and adjustments that eventually increase your sales.
Got any questions or comments about the best practices for conversion rate optimization? Feel free to leave a comment below. And if you need any assistance in converting your website visitors into paying customers, I’m always here to help.